Episode 47 – Jay – gay dad

Jay and his husband Mika from Melbourne became parents to their son Leonidas in August 2022. Their surrogate Kim, who lives in Adelaide, was previously a stranger and now a life long friend. Their egg donor, Sadie, is a family friend of both Jay and Mika. 

This episode was recorded in May 2024.

To see the beautiful images described in this recording, watch it on our YouTube channel.


These podcasts were recorded as part of the free webinar series run by Surrogacy Australia. If you would like to attend one, head to this page for dates and registration links. The recording can also be found on our YouTube channel so you can see the photos that are described. Find more podcast episodes here.

The webinars are hosted by Anna McKie who is a gestational surrogate, high school Math teacher and surrogacy educator working with Surrogacy Australia and running SASS (Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service). 

Follow Surrogacy Australia on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube

Are you an Intended Parent (IP) who is looking to find a surrogate, or a surrogate looking for Intended Parents? Join SASS.


Welcome to Surrogacy Australia’s podcast series. I’m your host Anna McKie and my aim is to raise the level of awareness of surrogacy through these conversations. This podcast is a recording from a webinar that I host and you can find more details about those and upcoming dates on our website at surrogacyaustralia.org The webinars are free, go for an hour and we’ll take you through how surrogacy works in Australia. You can ask questions, typing them in anonymously if you prefer.

and you hear from a co-host who has navigated surrogacy in Australia, either a surrogate, a gay dad or a straight mum. This episode, recorded in May 2024, features Jay. Jay and his husband Mika from Melbourne became parents to their son Leo in August 2022. Their surrogate Kim, who lives in Adelaide, was previously a stranger and now a lifelong friend. Their egg donor Sadie is a family friend of both Jay and Mika.

In this episode, Jay takes us through their journey deciding to pursue Australian surrogacy, but after starting to explore overseas surrogacy in America, you’ll find it really valuable to hear why it was that they decided to stay in Australia. Some of the key learnings in this episode are honesty, transparency, patience and communication. Jay takes us through their journey of finding a donor, of connecting with surrogate Kim, building the friendship during COVID times, navigating birth plans and then life with a toddler.

Mika and toddler Leo actually make an appearance in this episode just before Leo’s bedtime. It’s always lovely to see and hear the children born from surrogacy to remind us all that this really can happen in Australia. I hope you enjoy this episode.

So Jay, thank you for joining us. We’re going to work through your story now, but I guess take us back to the beginning. Tell me how you met your surrogate and why did you decide on Surrogacy Australia in the first place? Firstly, let me just say the photos and the story that you shared, and it’s just so heartwarming. And it brings a tear to the eye, definitely. It’s really, really beautiful to have that insight into anybody’s journey. So it makes me feel really comfortable to share mine, I guess, mine and Mika’s. Mika is my partner, everybody.

Leo, who’s having a very bouncy night. So he’s not in here. He might be a little bit disruptive. But our surrogacy journey, I guess, if you to be completely inclusive, started about 10 years ago, when we were we were simply talking about the idea of being parents and, you know, our future as a couple and where that would lead. And resoundingly, we both wanted to be parents. And

We talked about it for years, you know, we were more sort of career focused and, and just sort of really growing up and getting to know each other in terms of the dedicated talk, a dedicated journey, immediate journey. It’s been roughly a two year process, I guess. Things started in about January, 2020. We’re not entirely sure how we sort of thought that we might go about it. You know, we were contacting a lot of online companies and when you type in

will often happen is you’ll get a lot of, I guess, ads for commercial surrogacy companies, overseas ones, especially we received a reply from one in particular, I probably won’t mention the name of the company. They’re a commercial surrogacy company based in the USA. They basically try to talk you through a lot of hybrid systems where you will get you’ll have the to reduce the overall costs, you may have the embryos created in another country apart

for embryo transfer and so forth. So it does reduce the costs a little bit because the very expensive laboratory costs are reduced because they’re not being docile. That’s initially what we were looking at and we were putting contacts with one of the representatives from this particular knee who just so happened to live around corner from us in Yarraville, here in Melbourne. So he was a single dad as well and he was really interested in meeting us. Very personable guy, actually invited us around within a matter of days

know, to check in from his home office. And we went around, we met his little boy, Nate, who, you know, beautiful little guy who was like a walking advertisement for this represented his journey in the course of sort of talking about it all, we could really see the possibility in commercial surrogacy, we thought this is this is the way to go about it. We were really sold on the idea of even though it was a lot.

expense for us. It did actually appeal because you do circumvent a lot of potential issues damage in terms of you pay a big fee upfront and that sort of that sort of alleviates you from a lot of like legal hurdles down track. And that did appeal to us. It was quite expensive and probably out of our budget at the time, but we were so keen on being dads that we were willing to go.

Was this country America? Yes, yes, it was. Yeah, yeah. But we were looking at the sort of hybrid option to sort of bring down the cost. And we were sort of in the process of deciding upon what.

country in particular, at one particular time, we were looking at Columbia. That’s a, that’s a big sort of surrogacy base as well. This representative did invite it. He basically said that he was going to be giving a talk at a surrogacy convention with spearheaded by Sam Everingham, which is a mutual friend and colleague of ours. And we went along to this convention in Richmond here in Melbourne, and we were blown away, you know, this is where we really got exposure, you know, once you step away from Google and it becomes about real people, you’re meeting represent

representatives from the commercial side, from the altruistic surrogacy side, and really getting a, really getting a feel for what the possible avenues were. And so our minds started really opening from that point where we were like, okay, there are other options apart from commercial surrogacy overseas. One of the big takeaways from doing this convention, the advice to join as many online forums as we can, and just sort of, I guess, become

part of the community and to start the dialogue with as many people as possible because it’s about putting the feelers out there and trying to create the network. So we did that. You know, one of them was joining the Australian…

So I see grew various gay dad groups and so forth as well that joined. And I imagine that by joining these groups and as you’re saying, I’m wondering if you’re saying talking to family and friends and just letting them know that this is the path that you’re on, even if nobody necessarily steps forward and offers, you’re creating an army of supporters of people that understand and they start to ask you questions about this journey. Well, what does that look like? Oh, can it be done in Australia or what part? Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Or private to start with. We were keeping our cards very close to our chest at first because we

wanted to educate ourselves, you know, really, really get across everything, we knew all the questions would be coming from our families. And we wanted to really kind of arm ourselves back.

and one of the particular advices that we were given was to follow Sarah Jefford, who’s a surrogacy lawyer, as you know, and she has a wonderful podcast. We drive down to Warrnambool to go whale watching weekend and we listened to a couple of the podcasts and why it’s a big sort of three hour drive down. And during the very first podcast, she was talking about the possibility in Australia of altruistic surrogacy, which we, to be honest, we were a little bit deterred by

was being marketed to us, you know, and we sort of, I guess in the past, saw altruistic surrogacy, I guess, as the rougher pathway in terms of it would be a sort of longer, more difficult journey. But the way that Sarah sort of talked about it really resonated with us because she talked about not just viewing it as a transaction and as a process that you can sort of.

pay for, really look at forming a lifelong relationship with your surrogacy team. So forming a lifelong relationship potentially with your donor and forming a similar relationship with your surrogate. As soon as she said that, it hit a chord within us. And we realized that that’s what we wanted to do. We’re ourselves very family orientated. We’re very big on, I guess, drawing people into our family.

making our friends, family as well. And we love people, we love their company. We love to know about people. That horde of bringing that team together really resonated with us and it drew tears to our eyes.

You know, we really, it was like a light bulb moment when we realized altruistic surrogacy in Australia with a team is the way that we relate, right? Okay. Like another education, really have to sort of get our heads around the legal element and like all the steps and find out to do. We had joined the forums, of course. And later that year in about August of 2020, within conversation on one of the forums, Mika, my partner was responding to a message by a lady

up saying on one of the forums how she wondered if it was appropriate to formulate, I guess, a set of rules or requirements or conditions as a surrogate and actually sort of have IPs respond to that in a way, if you know what I mean. Mika got on there and basically said, yeah, you know, I absolutely think it’s completely valid that you would have conditions and so forth about what IPs you would, you would want to connect with and so forth. And from, do you know, just from that commenting process, they got to chatting.

and so forth, they started sort of messaging each other one on one. Mika did ask him what some of those rules might be or what some of those conditions might be. She straight away said that she would like her IPs to be family orientated. And so straight away we were like.

this is great. We’re finding somebody on the same vibration as us. She then talked about transparency being big as well and communication being at the center of the relationship, which is a huge thing for us as well. She also talked about honesty, you have to have, you know, because you are going on a difficult journey together, it’s important to be able to have the difficult conversations and you know, not having to sugarcoat everything, you know, having an honesty in place as well. Because, you know, sometimes you need to talk about your fears and so

to do with this whole process. And that was one of the very first questions that Kim asked me directly. You know, if you had fears stepping into this altruistic process, what’s the main one? And I straight away said that, you know, we would go into this and then you would decide that you perhaps wanted to keep the baby and we would have a difficulty, you know. She basically said, I thought that, you know, I thought that might be the case. If I wanted to have a baby, I would have a baby. Just, you know, this is the wonderful thing about being a woman.

You know, she explained her reasoning about why she needed to do this as a woman and as a person and to express this generosity. It all became very clear and that sort of that open discourse and transparency and communication became the center of our relationship. And we then developed this over months, you know, over months, messaging each message Kim more than we message anybody in it. Like I do, don’t you? I remember it felt like I had three husbands at the time. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And with really everything.

stuff not even related to surrogacy. We were talking about your work, your kids. Music and life and you know, dating history and like all kinds of things, you know, because you’re just, you’re wanting, you’re getting a gauge of who this person is. You’re drawing them into your life. And it just so happened like we just loved Kim and her sensibility and we’re just blown away by her. But in a really, really stick sense, we could really see her as a real person. It really was a really sort of grounded relationship. And so this was, it was about a two year journey, as you said, so we’re in about August

2020 and he Leo was born in a 22. And so at the time COVID and then as we head into 21 and you’re Melbourne, horrible COVID lockdowns and Adelaide. So I’m assuming a lot of this time getting to know each other is spent virtually exactly right. Exactly right. And we did have big plans about she’s based in Adelaide popping over back and forth between Melbourne and Adelaide to see each other. But we were heading into Christmas and it wasn’t until sort of November of 2020 that Kim made her official offer.

us. We never asked, you know, she we never asked him sort of came and made this offer. She did it in a beautiful way. She sent us a you know, a box of all kinds of beautiful gifts and stuff. And part of that is, you know, a piece of it. So let’s go on this journey together. You know, it was really a really happy moment, which our family kind of was still trying to get their heads around at that point. But we could see the pathway, you know what I mean? What was important is that we could see the pathway just to success. We had formed our team

or manifesting success, you know, which meant a healthy baby and healthy surrogate at the end of the day. Then while we were sort of working things out with Kim informally forming an agreement amongst us about sort of what Kim’s role would be given a successful birth and so forth, you know, would she be called mom? Would she be like an auntie? Like, you know, how would we foresee how much contact are we comfortable with and all of that kind of thing? So we worked that out,

down the track.

we would actually have to form a witness agreement together. So in the meantime, we started seeking a donor. We asked about three sets of friends because we were given the advice that it’s most likely within your friendship group that we would be successful with that. Unfortunately, we got to the line with each one and they all fell through. So we got to the stage where we considered purchasing some X, which is a possibility. It’s not cheap, but it’s a possibility. And we thought, you know, Kim, it’s so wonderful with Kim. We need to, I guess,

strike while the iron’s hot in a sense. You know, she’s in the place in life where she wants to do this now. Her kids are sort of just at the cusp of entering high school. Maybe a little later, she’s not gonna be as interested. So we were sort of very keen to get things started. Right at that point, where we were sort of considering buying the eggs, my niece Sadie came forward. Now, one thing to note, and this is…

would be my advice for intended parents who are sourcing a donor or a surrogate. Often we were given the advice that people within the medical field or people with caregiving field, statistically more likely to be open to this just because they would perhaps see this as.

more of a medical process and less as a sort of an emotional process, I guess. I thought you were saying more that I wonder if we did like collect the data on who were surrogates and donors. Are they more teachers and midwives and nurses? That’s right. People with an altruistic nature anyway, and especially people that are mindful of the

the medical element of this as a medical process, you know what I mean? Yeah, it was interesting, Sadie, you know, my niece Sadie is who happens to be my goddaughter as well, is a nurse who’s training to be a doctor. And she basically came forward. She was 23 at the time, came forward and she said, Oh, my God, like I, you know, if there’s any way that I can help, she said, you know, I would be giving you guys. I don’t want to be a parent for years and years and years. So like I could be potentially changing your life.

with what I’m just going to sort of get rid of every month. You know what I mean? Being a donor, they go to waste every month. Yeah, exactly right. Exactly right. She said, so from that point of view, like, oh my God, you know, let’s do this. Like, I’m so excited to help. So we had this sort of extra new burst of energy then when she came on board. I mean, this did also sort of solve and force the decision about who would be the biological father as well, because we were sort of talking about our viability. That’s often a question with the two dads.

you know, so yeah, there was a bit of dialogue, of course, I’m sort of simplifying it, but of course, I think it’s fair for the two guys to have that conversation that it’s okay if one of the two actually does feel really strongly about it. That’s okay. They need to speak up about that, don’t they? And yeah, that’s right. Obviously do have some genetic connection that’s there through your niece, which is lovely. We were very lucky in that respect. And sort of when I talk about it being, you know, a 10 year conversation, when we initially

If you could be the dad and your sisters could be the donor or, you know, my family could be the donor and you could be the dad. And that’s what happened. Like one of one of the dream models actually transpired. So we were very lucky in that respect. And so how many embryos did you make? Did you do one egg collection with Sadie? Yeah. You know, Sadie is very healthy, 23 year old. Yes. And they do encourage you, I guess, to consider perhaps a younger donor just because of that.

more successful result that you may have. You know, we’re entering COVID territory basically. That did slow things down by about six months or so, I imagine, but we found our little windows where we could sort of get somebody into the state and get them out again, which was the big deal.

We did all of this sort of compatibility checks between Mika and Sadie remotely. So Sadie did those in Brisbane. We dealt with City Fertility at the time, who were just fantastic. We couldn’t have faulted them. Once all the compatibility checks.

happened and the sort of genetic compatibility checks happened, which were, I believe a lot of them were optional, but we decided to do every single one, you know, we paid extra. It was at our expense, but we’ve paid extra to do every single test leading up because we just thought if it leads to the sort of health and success of the baby, then it’s an investment. So we went for it. And particularly if it then involves having healthy embryos because and therefore

because if you go through that she might eventually stop. Exactly right. Was Leo in the end the first transfer? Did it work? Look we, yeah, yeah we- Jumping ahead of it there but- No that’s okay. On the first extraction, on the very first extraction, they took 22 eggs. When they fertilized them 15 of those were successful. After five days of course they, you know, they let them develop for five days. Six of those were of a-

double A grade because they have that grading system. So they were like wonderful. And those were the six that they stored. And because we have a different donor to surrogate mom, they have the three month quarantine to make sure that things are safe with the surrogate mom.

receiving end. And so they, you know, they pop them right into storage from there. But that to them was a wonder that was a wonderful result. They didn’t have too many eggs where they could perhaps be sort of weakened or lessened in quality somehow. You know, it was a good number that they were happy with. She wasn’t sort of over productive or whatever. Yeah. And the kind of fertilized amount which reduced to the actual successful amount. Yeah, we had sort of six little

And then it’s probably nearly time to then share the photos of the journey once you got pregnant. Oh, for sure. Yes. And now we’re up to speed. Yeah. So after the three month quarantine, when Kim came over to Melbourne, November of 2021, that was the first time we met her in person because of lockdown.

because of lockdown. Right, the first time a person. Yeah. But look, thanks to modern technology, we had just formed the best relationship online. I remember just the relief at meeting her at the airport and just like sort of wrapping her up in a big hug. It was just so beautiful. I’ll share a photo so people can see Kim. And did that feel right then, like the person that you met in person matched the person that you had been? Yeah, absolutely. We just couldn’t wait to hang out. We just felt like old friends. That photo there in the middle

the airport when we were piling her into the car after sort of meeting her for the first time. Wonderful. She just felt like family and a mate all rolled into one. So it was just absolutely brilliant. We were so lucky with Kim. She was just so incredible and so, yeah, honest and transparent and giving and generous and just phenomenal the entire time. We just can’t talk highly enough of her. So the photo on the left there, that’s a visit sort of during the pregnancy

Adelaide and I think that might be the same visit there on the right when we were where I’ve got my tats out there unfortunately but we were sort of… But these are photos where you you were each got hands on the belly and perhaps feeling kicks and things? Ah yeah yeah that’s right yeah he was a very kicky little boy Leo so very active from the from the very beginning. Do you remember how many times you were able to see each other during pregnancy? Did she go to you or you came to her? We did go over there we just wanted her to sort of take it easy during that entire time. We

We, I think during the pregnancy, three or four times, but you know, obviously talking to her daily, she was still with us after the embryo transfer. Kim stayed with us for about two weeks, I believe. And she was actually with us when we received the little.

The pee on a stick. The pee on a stick, yes. She’s got to whip that out on one of our breakfasts one morning and we just couldn’t believe it. You know, like it was just amazing. Yeah, it all went so quickly. We invested in every scan we possibly could, every check that we possibly could. Cause once again, just making sure that everything sort of went right through to a full term. I think that brings us to the photos, the day of the birth. Yeah, yeah, here we go. So this is us over in Gawler Hospital, which was the local hospital to Kim. It was fantastic

sort of got to enjoy her pregnancy amongst her family. She’s got two teenage kids by this stage. Um, and this is all of us like getting ready for, for Kim to go in. Um, one thing there was, I guess, a little bit of a speed hump at the very last minute where, um,

Even though in our agreements and our lengthy sort of discussion, we did all agree that a C-section might be the best option to go just to reduce the amount of complications and so forth. At the very last minute, Kim just did have a bit of a reservation about the recovery time. You know, she was then thinking, oh my God, you know, it’s going to, it could take sort of six weeks plus and that, you know, I’m going to have all this time off my feet. Am I going to be able to look after the kids and all this kind of thing?

So she did have a bit of anxiety at the last minute. We did try to do sort of different natural therapies and stuff to perhaps encourage a natural birth. But after things went, I think, over the expected date by about a week, we then all agreed that we should stick to plan that we had sort of come to when we were of more of a sound, less emotional mind. And dealing with a pregnant hormonal woman. Exactly, yeah. Yeah, and great example that plans can change and you need to keep talking together

to see everybody seeing it from each other’s points of view. So exactly right. Yeah. Once again, you know, once again, this was difficult. This was difficult for the three of us but we went through it together and it was the honesty and the transparency which carried us through and we were patient with each other’s needs. That was really important. We were we’re very patient of Kim’s needs. She was very patient with ours because you know we were in we were in Adelaide for you know initial sort of two-week period and that would have meant you know repercussions with work and all of this kind of thing. So

Now we were really respecting each other’s needs. We ended up having a C-section and just everything sort of happened so quick. There were no complications. We were very lucky. The recovery for Kim was a great process as well. There’s Leo sort of just popping out of Kim’s belly right there. There were seven just incredible midwives and assistants within the room who were just absolute angels. And…

there’s us having a first hole for the first time. Leo probably cried for about 20 seconds and then stopped. And for the first three months, he was just the easiest, most incredible baby. And we took the photo there while we’re still in hospital with his sheepie. That’s us lying in hospital on the first night. Yes. So that’s often a classic question is being a C-section, you guys stayed together at the same hospital, sort of rooms apart nearby, is that how it was?

from Adelaide and so we were, you’re probably having a laugh Anna because you’re probably more familiar with that. Being in Adelaide, yes. I know what you mean, it is a little bit out of town. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, so it didn’t have the pressure or the traffic I guess of like a major capital city hospital. Look, they were absolutely incredible Gawler Hospital. They just treated us so beautifully. I believe it was the first same-sex surrogate birth that they had, any of the staff had dealt with, you know.

At that hospital in South Australia, yeah, I can confirm. Yeah, absolutely. And so this is what I mean, especially for same-sex parents. Even though in our relationship life, if you think about the sort of same-sex marriage plebiscite and all of that debate, which has happened historically in the last few years, we’ve really had to fight for our rights, you know? In terms of becoming a parent, it’s a very different approach. There’s no fight. It needs to be about patience and generosity

each other’s perspective, it just does. Patience is a massive one. And if we didn’t, if we really didn’t sort of adopt it and encourage it within each other, we probably would have ended up a lot more frustrated than what we were, you know, and it would have taken the shine off the whole process. It was an absolute joy. They treated us so beautifully at the hospital. Medicare and so forth were a bit of a hurdle. Coming back to Victoria, which was suffering like a big backlog of services due to COVID, that’s why it took so long to get caught up.

order to get the sort of parentage order to get some Kim’s details swapped with ours on the birth certificate, so to speak. How long did you stay in South Australia, Adelaide, near Kim, before you came home? Because this next photo here looks like an extended family having some newborn photos. But yes, I’m guessing that was back in Melbourne. How long did until you went back? We were only in Adelaide for another week before we drove back to Melbourne, did the drive back. We were so glad that we drove.

with Leo at that age as a Bubba, I just would have been too freaked out. Yeah, there’s a lot going on. Good to have that option to drive and then bring him home and introduce him to all his family, extended family, hey? That’s right, yeah. Kim, by this stage, you know, she had been pregnant for nine months, of course, and had been part of all of this dialogue for a couple of years. And she was very keen to get back to her family. You know what I mean? She was very keen to get back to the kids and back to her partner, Ben. So she was, even though we were,

contacting, FaceTiming, all of this all the time. She was like, great guys, you know, you enjoyed your initial new life and I will too, you know. So there was that- She had this project that she wanted to do and she did her project and she wanted to move on. Exactly right, and we respected her for that. So the previous photo was of our parents with Leo. That’s a sort of, he would have been about three weeks old there. Yeah, so little. This photo shoot was like a gift from a friend, which was a great idea, by the way. The one on the right there,

his baths. He still loves his baths and loves swimming now as a 21 month old. And he was just such an easy baby. That was our dog, Maggie, at the time, who’s since passed away. She was an old girl, but Maggie was very protective of Leo as well in the early days. And that was Leo’s first Christmas there, end of 2022, when we had our little Santa photo. Lovely doing these sorts of normal things like parents do, having a bath, photos with pets, photos with Santa, all of these

is quite devout Greek Orthodox and so is his family. So we had to sort of jump some, a couple of unfortunate hurdles sort of coming, you know, bringing Leo into the religious sense. But we found a progressive priest who was quite happy to baptize him in the Orthodox Church. That’s Leo’s godfather in the middle, Kosta with the beard there. And that’s Sadie. That’s my, oh sorry, I’m tearing up a bit. This is,

That’s Sadie, that’s Sadie, the beautiful tall girl in the white dress there. That’s Leo’s donor mom and my goddaughter. Your goddaughter, beautiful. And niece, yeah. And then, yes, the circle, isn’t it? So that he’s at him, he’s christening, getting his godparents and then you there as a godparent, but also then your niece, who’s your goddaughter, is his biological mother. Oh, it’s just exactly. Yeah, that’s right. This is the first photo that we’ve got of Kim and Sadie together.

Kim was our guest of honor at the at the christening and Sadie was the godmother. So, you know, my my goddaughter is now Leo’s godmother. Ah, beautiful. And we actually got married that day as well.

You know, Mika and I got married at Leo’s christening. We had everybody together. We didn’t want to make a big deal and sort of fork out heaps of money. We had everybody together. We just did it. We just did it on that day. How memorable. Oh, Leo doesn’t mind down the track that we don’t think he will. He might remember his christening. So I mean, life goes on, hey, just photos of him in your lives. His T-shirt that says, I love my dad’s look, he’s largely grown up with our extended family, you know, these photos are away on our honeymoon, which was just out of, you know, in Healesville.

has been an absolute joy. We’re actually building a house at the moment. The house was the final hurdle until we actually gonna be joining SASS ourselves and going through this process again. Kim’s decided that her journey, she’s done her bit, she’s gonna move on. So we’re gonna be in the process ourselves of like inviting another surrogate mom into our lives, hopefully to go for number two. I’ve got Leo right here, he wants to say- Oh, stop, we’re talking about you buddy.

He’s a big boy, he’s just had a haircut yesterday. I love you, Leo. Are you in the wave? Hi. Leo, who’s in the photo? Who’s that baby there? Hi. Is that Leo? And who’s that there? Is that daddy? And who’s that there? Dad, it’s me, isn’t it? Is that you? You, dad and daddy. You’re so beautiful. Oh, lovely. Mika’s here, come and pop your head in for us. Hello, Mika. Thank you for sharing your journey with us so that we can inspire the next wave. Oh, that’s so cute. Oh.

You’re welcome. It is an incredible journey and I highly recommend it for anyone that wants to actually go on it.

He’s obsessed with letters and numbers. He’s reading out the keyboard at the moment. Oh, he did. That’s fantastic. And so for people listening, that’s fantastic to see and hear because it’s like these babies exist. This is what we’re all doing it for, isn’t it? Make some friends. And he’s just had such a profound effect on our life. And I just think like we ran at this. Biggest piece of advice that I could give is be patient. Be patient with people, but also it’s a marathon.

that you need to do something every day. You need to chip away at it every day. Just a little something. We made sure every day, and look, it was largely Kim. She’d sort of get, you know, what have you done today? What have we done? Have we done those papers? Have we done that? You know, there were so many sort of difficult hurdles to get through. We were dedicated as a team to make it happen. And- It really is like another part-time job. It really is. Yeah, yeah. We dedicated a lot of time to it. We just knew. We manifested it. We made it real. You know, we, we, and we made sure

festering it through action. We’re making sure that we’re sort of chipping away at it every day. Like a difficult thing that we went through was PRP, the peer review panel, which you have to do in Victoria, which not everyone has to do, but gay dads have to do it. Well, everyone in Victoria has to. I mean, we have family members who did surrogacy between them and they didn’t have to do a PRP review. I would argue then that’s not surrogacy and I’m not sure they’ll ever get a parentage order. Oh, right.

Okay, well, yeah, possibly you’re right, Anna. Yeah, the PRP was difficult, I guess, because you’re sort of being asked a lot of questions about how you’re gonna parents and that kind of thing. And you’re thinking do- Are the hetero couples get challenged on this when they say- Go through the scrutiny. Yeah, exactly. How you’re gonna have kids. To me, it should be questioning your ability to navigate a surrogacy journey, not your ability to parent, but can you manage this interstate journey and supporting your surrogate? Sure, question you on that. Exactly. Not how you’re gonna parent.

Like that should be asked. But I think a lot of these questions are asked not because they need an answer, but because they’re checking for the response. And so if you’re getting defensive or heated or anything like that, it’s sort of not looking particularly good. But I did find those questions interesting because it’s like we don’t know how we’re going to parent yet because we haven’t met our child. You know what I mean? Like our parenting is going to largely be in response to him and his or her personality and needs, you know. So look, we were just honest.

honest and hope for the best and yeah, the rest is history. Yeah, we got through. But it looked we did require about 12 different psychiatric psychiatric sittings or evaluations, some with us some with him, some with Kim’s children, because she had pre teenage children that that were you know, part of the mix as well. And there were 12 or up there was like a group one including so Sadie as well. You know, Sadie was sort of part of that. So but look at all got approved at the end. Yeah, I’ll ask you the couple of questions that have been typed in.

answer one from Matt that says, does surrogates usually give birth to one child at a time or are there some cases where they birth twins or triplets? We basically say we don’t do twins in Australia for surrogacy. That’s even part of our SASS application form to let you know that that’s what happens in Australia. Yeah the embryo transfer, the fertility specialist don’t do that. Look it’s not illegal but a surrogate’s not getting paid $50,000 on top of you know getting a cost covered and so it brings greater risks both to the surrogate and her pregnancy but also to the the twins that you

of being born early increase. So no, twins are not done here in Australia. But if that’s something you’re looking for, I perhaps recommend overseas investigating that. There is a question here that I could answer, but Jay, you may wanna answer it in terms of finances, but you might wanna keep it a bit private. I’ve got some numbers. Matt asks, from the affordability point of view, what’s the budget that IP should prepare for covering all of the costs? Do you want me to give mine first? Or you’re- Well, look, I mean, it does vary, doesn’t it? It does. It depends on the medical.

journey of the surrogacy, it depends on…

viability of eggs and embryos and all of that. That being said, we were very lucky at every step. We were very lucky and very blessed. We did lose track to a certain extent about the exact cost, somewhere in the realm of between 60 and 100,000. Yes, so I’ll give the range. So I would say the average is about 60. I’ve done some data gathering. I should send you my spreadsheet, my survey to fill out, to add to that. The range is about 35 to 90,000.

those at the 35,000 are those where they didn’t have interstate travel they either had embryos or it worked first embryo transfer they only had to have one egg collection and up at the 90,000 is where you might have had multiple egg collection cycles, multiple embryo transfers, interstate travel, loss of wages and so your journey can blow out like that. So I would recommend having you know probably aim for 60,000, hope that it’s 35,000 going into this with I don’t know what you would recommend Jay, 10, 20 thousand dollars saved already of

but you want to have some saved ahead of time, I guess. We did have some saved. We ended up taking a loan as well. Yeah, that was a really good idea. These babies are very expensive. They’re very wanted children, aren’t they? Yeah, that’s right. Especially if you want to sort of like go above and beyond. We were doing quite a bit of interstate travel, accommodation, you know, there’s lots of things to consider. So it’s hard sometimes to tell what is a baby, what is a related baby cost and, you know, where does this just drift into everyday life as our lives were changing. But yeah, this is why I say

somewhere within, definitely above 60,000. I don’t think it broke 100,000. It’s certainly will moving forward. Sibling number two, hopefully with the new grade. That’s right. And hey, you can find a local surrogate and not have COVID and not have interstate travel. Like this could be a cheap baby number two. Yeah, oh God, let’s hope so. Let’s hope so. But look, we were very blessed. It’ll, we’re just hoping lightning can strike twice and we’re lucky again. With that previous question, it was something that came up for us because a lot of our,

of our embryos were graded quite high. And we did ask the question, you know, is this a possibility to perhaps put multiple embryos in during the embryo transfer? Our doctor basically said, it’s not illegal, but we would have to be very, very, very confident.

about everything going forward. Factors that might sort of hold them back from doing that is, you know, the age of the surrogate. They’re very conservative. They’re all about reducing the risks and increasing the success of the bird. One of the one of the risks is is sort of, you know, having twins or triplets or whatever. So I guess that kind of I guess that thinking of like putting multiple embryos in in Australia anyway is a little bit out.

dated if the eggs themselves are not the mum’s own, you know, that thinking is a little bit, it’s all about the success of the one. Agreed. And I think it’s a really valid question because at the beginning, when you’re learning, you’re wondering all of these sorts of things. So it’s a great question to ask, isn’t it? Because it’s one that a lot of people will think about at the beginning. And then when you hear from us going, oh, that’s how we do it in Australia, you go, oh, okay, I understand why now. Yeah. Especially within the, I guess, the commercial surrogacy narrative where they, you know, that is one of their markets.

points where they say, you know, for an extra amount you can be the father to twins, you know, it is sort of very healing that thought of having all your family at once. Two kids done at once, yes, and I know for the surrogates that offer to carry twins overseas, they can charge more for their compensation. So yeah, to sum it up now, if you’ve got any other things from your team that you’d like to pass on, any challenges or things you did well? I actually think our personal pathway to success was getting to know each other and I guess

adopting each other into each other’s families and doing it that way. It’s not for everyone. Like some people, they might be a bit more private or conservative or whatever. And having said all of this now, things have kind of settled. Kim has become sort of Aunty Kim. We don’t talk every single day. We talk every other day. It’s just a message here and there. We’ll call each other if it’s a birthday or Christmas or Mother’s Day or something like that. Maybe some people, when we talk about this, they might sort of think, oh, you know, I’m not quite ready to bring somebody into that.

level. I guess once you have achieved what you’ve wanted to achieve on both sides, it’s up to you on how you sort of move forward. We have been very lucky on our journey. We really feel like we’ve got a lot to impart as well. Is there anything you do differently than going into a second journey? The interstate thing was difficult.

The interstate thing was difficult. And particularly next time around, you’ve got a toddler. Yeah. I think you don’t realize how different the laws are from state to state, especially with, I guess, Victoria. Victoria is quite a progressive state politically, meaning a lot of surrogacy did happen in Victoria quite early, but a lot of those very conservative laws also came in, yeah? They still stand, unfortunately. They haven’t been repealed. Whereas other states have seen it. Working in Victoria, I said, OK.

Well, maybe we can take on this as well. Do we need these laws? Not so much, you know? And so it’s a weird position that Victoria is in. But yeah, I guess knowing if you have had that opportunity where a surrogate is in another state and you’re going to go for it that way, just be aware of what the laws are. Just sort of like read up on the laws and get you.

and have a really great relationship with your surrogacy lawyer as well. Yes, somebody that you can call on to ask questions to at different points in time. Yeah, good advice there. I hope it’s been a nice opportunity to relive your journey thinking back to it all and sharing the photos and go, wow, that’s what we’ve done over the last year. Really has, it just, time has just flown and being in the moment and being present is…

is so all encompassing as a parent and you do you do it time sort of figured all those little details so it was nice to sit down tonight.

put a plan together, you know, what did we actually do? What were the hurdles? It was a really lovely little bit of nostalgia. Good. Well, I’m glad to take you on that trip down memory lane and, and thank you for sharing your story with us and, and, and others and letting them know that this too could be a possibility for them in the future. So you were them not that long ago, hey? Yeah, exactly right. And we’ll be very soon again. Yes. And having to embrace the community and stepping in and putting yourselves out there and yeah, you come back to the beginning again, isn’t it? But with all the wisdom of knowing how to do it.

A little bit wiser. Older and wiser. And a bit tighter too, haven’t you? That’s right, yeah. No time to waste. Yeah, lovely. Thank you for sharing your time with me for this episode. If you’re finding these episodes helpful, please share them with friends. If you’d like to see the images mentioned, head to our YouTube channel for all of the recordings.

If you’re looking for more individualised support, consider joining SASS, Surrogacy Australia’s support service, so you can be connected with a mentor and also with me to help guide you on a journey. You might think of me as your Siri for surrogacy. Until next time, welcome to the village.

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